Yamaha SA-15 Hollow Body Black 1969
Yamaha SA-15 hollow body, made in Japan 1969. This is a superbly cute oddity from a much cooler bygone era. Yamaha began making electric guitars in 1966, and this model was part of the long-running and very highly regarded SA series. The SA-15 was a fully hollow design that took it cues from somewhere between The Beatles' Rickenbackers and The Ventures' Mosrites. The look is all sorts of awesomeness: the obvious features like the extended lower horn and unique pickguard are all Yamaha originals, and the little details like the not-quite-f-hole, the zero-fret nut, the faux-wood inlay on the tailpiece all add a certain quant weirdness to the overall vibe. It's hard to deny that this is an extremely stylish creation. It's just back from a visit to our luthier friend Jon Parsons, who's given it a new lease on life with a full re-wire with top notch components, a new bridge, new knobs and a half re-fret and full fret dressing. As such, it's now playing brilliantly and lacks all the impracticality some other vintage MIJ hollows offer; it's absolutely gig ready. The tone is dark, woody and warm. The fully hollow mahogany body and bolt-on neck mean this sounds a bit thicker and darker than the more common SA30s and SA50s that we love around here; this has a thing all it's own. The single coil pickups are low on noise and deliver a sweet, plonky attack that's perfect for surf, indie and pop and plays very nicely with effects. I do have a strong urge to keep this guitar, so if you want it, you better claim it quickly before I change my mind and lock it away to caress it myself.
Model: Yamaha SA-15
Made: Japan, 1969 (serial 11665)
Finish: gloss black
Body: laminate mahogany, fully hollow, thinline depth
Neck: mahogany, stained maple fretboard, 24.75" scale, 12" radius
Mods: 5 frets replaced, knobs replaced, all pots replaced (tone pots: no-load 500k, volume pots: 1meg), jack replaced with Puretone jack, bridge replaced with tune-o-matic style w/ ebony base
Pickups: original Yamaha single coil pickups: 'hum-free anisotrophic ferrite magnets with individually adjustable pole pieces'; basically a hum-cancelling single coil
Case: vintage tartan gig bag, very basic
Overall: minor finish wear. The headstock has some minor dents on the end and a bit of scuffing and some marks on the front near the text. The neck is pretty clean with minor dimples only. The back has some widespread shallow scratches and scuffs as well as the start of a few checking lines, but no major marks. The sides have a fair few little dimples, marks and scuffs all the way around, but again, no major marks, and the binding is in great shape. The front has some rub wear around the edges, some minor dimples near the F-hole and some normal play scratches on the guard and top horn. Overall: good condition (7/10)
Playing condition notes: Neck is straight, intonation is good, action is low, truss rod works. All electronics tested and working properly; note the full re-wire as noted above. Frets have been partially replaced and dressed, so they're in great shape, 8/10 for life left. Setup with fresh 11/49s.